Big Tune: Rise of the Dancehall Prince

Farrar. Mar. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374389949.
K-Gr 3–A celebration of Jamaican culture, from the drinks to the food and the dances. On the first weekend in June, Shane’s family and friends gather for a party. Shane collects cans in exchange for money so he can save up for a new pair of sneakers, high tops with a pump-up sole. He’s too shy to dance in front of others; when he’s alone, he can dance and sing all night. Shane imagines the dance moves he’d do and how the crowd would cheer for him. When the speakers for the party break, everyone’s sad the party is canceled. Luckily, Shane is there to save the day. The author’s note provides additional context about the music and dances featured throughout. The up-tempo rhyme scheme of the lines resembles a song much like the ones Shane enjoys. The picture book stresses the importance of community and selflessness, essential lessons for a picture book audience. Distinctive and vibrant collage-style illustrations depict a Black community of various skin tones and hair textures.
VERDICT This unique picture book’s celebration of Jamaican culture and community is a great addition to every library.

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